Monday, June 20, 2005

Is John McCain a Conservative? Of Course He Is

Ann Althouse, riffing off of Senator John McCain's appearance on Meet the Press yesterday, speculates on whether the Arizona senator would, if he were unable to secure the Republican presidential nomination, run as an independent in 2008. (I'm sure that he wouldn't for two reasons: 1. He can count and knows that third party candidates can't be elected. 2. He's a loyal Republican.)

Althouse's post has led to a discussion in the comments section of her blog of McCain as a conservative. Several agree with me that McCain is clearly a conservative, as his voting record in Congress demonstrates. (I would argue that he is more conservative than President Bush and certainly advocates policies more in line with Republican tradition than does the President.)

One person cited the Lexington column, Who is John McCain?, in the latest issue of The Economist magazine, which just arrived in my mailbox. Here are a few excerpts:
The paradox of Mr McCain's politics is that he frequently clashes with conservative activists not because he wants to advance liberal goals, but because he wants to promote conservative ones. Mr McCain is a deeply conservative man by temperament...The heir to Barry Goldwater's seat in Arizona, he's pro-free trade, pro-small government, and unlike his predecessor, pro-life...
It also argues that in three major areas where McCain departs from current conservative orthodoxy, "there is a good conservative argument for his position." Expanding on the point, the article says:
The campaign-finance system arguably encourages pork-barrel spending. How can politicians champion a conservative goal of a limited but effective government when they are in hock to special interests? Some of the biggest supporters of Mr McCain's immigration reforms are business people who want to bring the laws in line with the global economy, and homeland-security officials who want to be able to focus their resources on real threats to national security. Getting rid of the filibuster would not only have broken with 200 years of Senate tradition, but might also have allowed a future Democratic majority to push through radical reforms.
Given his credentials as a conservative and Republican party loyalist, it's hard to understand why some in his party fume at McCain so.

No comments: